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Democracy not working for Africa because it was forced on it —- Obasanjo

On Monday in Abeokuta, Former President Olusegun Obasanjo expressed the view that democracy has not effectively functioned as a system of government in Africa, asserting that it was imposed on the continent. Speaking at a high-level consultation on “Rethinking Western Liberal Democracy for Africa,” Mr. Obasanjo contended that the Western model of democracy faltered in Africa because it failed to consider the perspectives of the majority. Describing Western Liberal Democracy as a “government of a few people over all the people or population,” he emphasized that this approach excluded the majority and called for the adoption of an “Afro Democracy” in its place.

According to Mr. Obasanjo, African countries should not adhere to a system of government for which they had no involvement in its definition and design. He critiqued liberal democracy, highlighting its weaknesses and failures stemming from its historical roots, content, context, and practice. He questioned whether the minority should be ignored in a system that claims to be based on the rule of the majority. Mr. Obasanjo suggested that it was time for African nations to reassess their own cultural and traditional practices and consider alternative systems of government that align more closely with their needs.

He stressed that the primary purpose of any system of government should be the welfare and well-being of the people. Mr. Obasanjo urged participants to critically examine the shortcomings of liberal democracy, both in its Western origin and its application in African nations. He called for innovative thinking to identify practices from the nation’s history, culture, and tradition that could be adopted and adapted to create a more effective system of government. In conclusion, he invited attendees to provide ideas and recommendations for a reformed system that better serves the purpose of the people.

Former Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi, in his remarks, acknowledged the challenges facing liberal democracy in Africa. He emphasized the importance of addressing the non-delivery of development outcomes for the people to ensure that democracy can fulfill its promise.

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